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Endeavor Indonesia Hosts Entrepreneur Networking Event With 500 Startups’ “Geeks On A Plane” Tour

Endeavor Indonesia hosted a local networking gathering for Endeavor entrepreneurs, mentors and network members featuring Geeks On A Plane (GOAP), an invite-only startup and investor tour organized by 500 Startups. The event brought together over […]

August 1st, 2014 — by admin

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Endeavor Entrepreneur Bedriye Hülya named Social Entrepreneur of the Year

Endeavor Entrepreneur Bedriye Hülya was awarded Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the World Economic Forum’s Schwab Foundation. Her company, b-fit, is Turkey’s first national chain of women-only gyms. The Schwab foundation recognizes and supports […]

March 20th, 2013 — by admin

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Failure as Scar Tissue: Guest post by investor and serial entrepreneur Christopher Schroeder

Entrepreneur Chris Schroeder, founder of healthcentral.comNote: For more expert insights, consider registering for the June Endeavor Summit, where Christopher will be a featured speaker and panelist. You can also follow him on Twitter @cmschroed.
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“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
- Winston Churchill

“Even when I’m on my back, I never back down.”
- Lil’ Wayne

It is well-baked into the narrative of American innovation and entrepreneurship that we not only accept but embrace failure. The greatest among us have failed repeatedly; the failures among us are merely waiting to fight another day. Whether the outright failure of our enterprises or the countless little failures that make up our days, a great entrepreneur is constantly learning from and pivoting around the sine waves of noble experimentations.

My favorite summary of Americans’ comparative attitude towards failure came appropriately from a very successful investor friend of mine who is French: “Failure here, unfortunately, is a blot on one’s honeur. But for you Americans, it is at most scar tissue. You take the sword, heal, and fight another day wiser and more strong!” Vive l’entrepreneur Americain!

There is no doubt that an acceptance of failure is part and parcel not only of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the United States, but growing ecosystems around the world including Endeavor’s emerging markets and beyond. The narrative, though, belies one very salient fact:

Failure sucks.

It sucks beyond almost any human experience. It eradicates our resources, both financial and emotional; instills in us the malignancy of self-doubt; allows us to think too much about what other people say (or whisper to others behind our backs); and worries us that we have let down family, friends, employees, investors, partners and others who were so thrilled at our audacity to build. Future VCs SAY they respect you for failing, but many wonder –- or you are always wondering if they wonder — “does he or she have the stuff?”

This rather prosaic litany, of course, begs an obvious question: why do it?

And the answer is prosaically simple: because you have no choice. You simply have to.

Whenever I consider advising or investing in an entrepreneurial idea, I try desperately to keep the founder away from her pitch for a time and focus on who she is. What has she done in the past? Where does she come from? Why is she going down this path now? Why does she care?

But one of the most intriguing questions is: what will she do if her idea doesn’t work? It is not a trick question, nor do I labor long over it, but it gives a sense of the person’s mindset. The answer, “Failure is not an option, and here’s why,” shows a nice hint of audacity and commitment. “I’ll learn what could make the idea better and go at it again” shows a desire to win. “I can always get a job at McKinsey” may not be utterly damning, but certainly is an interesting thread on a potentially unraveling sweater.

Entrepreneurs have no choice. They seek no alternatives. They want their idea in their teeth. As often as not, this kind of independent, near fanatical drive in the face of statistically likely failure makes them unhirable in most “jobs” in other, larger, potentially safer organizations. And they don’t give a damn.

If you re-examine the litany of failure sucking above, I’d suggest the greatest take away is that it is almost entirely in one’s own head. Obviously we have to pay our bills. Certainly we don’t want our mothers worrying about us. Maybe, and depending on why we failed or how we handled it, it may be hard to get the next meeting in some quarters. But when we move away from the conspirators in our own heads, it is amazing how the passion and creativity that made us try in the first place helps us to find ways to meet the rent, allow our Moms to sleep at night, and find the team and investors who appreciate that the narrative of failure is true.

I received the best one-liner from a start-up founder recently, when he said, “I founded my dream on $1,060 and an amazing array of mistakes in the first iteration which taught me what to do in the second.” Incidentally, I loved that he didn’t round down the figure but added in that $60. It told me that to him, every dollar mattered. It wasn’t “around a thousand bucks”; it was to the buck. But the larger point was that he articulated what he had learned in his failure and embedded that learning into his next version. I understood why his idea was beginning to grow exponentially.

By the way, this entrepreneur is located in Alexandria, Egypt and to my knowledge has never visited the States.

A final thought: for the record, I’d appreciate someone acknowledging me as the first to connect a British Prime Minister to rap music…

Christopher M. Schroeder is a Washington, DC based internet investor and advisor, and CEO of internet companies including his most recent, healthcentral.com –- the leading collection of interactive experiences of health seekers sharing their experiences and inspiring actions. He has been spending extensive time in the Middle East exploring and writing about the rising entrepreneurial activity in the Arab world and thinks Endeavor is the smartest idea whose time has more than come.

Endeavor Turkey company Hiref unveils showroom in Qatar

Hiref's new showroom in Porto Arabia, The Pearl-Qatar

Endeavor firm Hiref, a Turkish luxury décor company, unveiled their new showroom in Qatar on April 14th. Founded by Endeavor Entrepreneurs Güvenç Kılıç and Ebru Çerezci, the brand draws inspiration from traditional Anatolian art and creates collections that aim to be both contemporary and timeless. Their collections have a new home in Porto Arabia, along with other international luxury design names such as Hermes and Giorgio Armani. The ambassador of Turkey to Qatar and his wife attended the opening.

Selected by Endeavor in 2009, Hiref’s opening in the The Pearl-Qatar marks continued international expansion for the brand. Hiref has retail locations in Ankara, Istanbul, and Jeddah, in addition to launching an online store. The handmade collections include vases, tableware, and mirrors crafted from fine metals, glass, and gemstones, preserving Turkish heritage and and capturing the world’s attention. JustLuxe.com called Hiref the “ultimate trendsetter of the ultimate design world” and the New York Times also mentioned the brand in an article about home design in Istanbul.

World Economic Forum publishes new report with Endeavor; highlights eight Endeavor companies

Today, in collaboration with Endeavor Global and Stanford University, the World Economic Forum released a new report, Global Entrepreneurship and Successful Growth Strategies of Early-Stage Companies. The report detailed insights from eight Endeavor Entrepreneur companies. Interviews with the Endeavor Entrepreneurs featured in the report have been reprinted on the Endeavor blog (DocSolutions, Globant, MercadoLibre, Petfor, Pharmacy 1, Refinancia, Technisys, and Yola).

The report found that the top 1% of companies from among 380,000 companies reviewed across 10 countries contribute 44% of total revenue and 40% of total jobs, while the top 5% contribute 72% of total revenue and 67% of total jobs. CLICK HERE to read the official press release; CLICK HERE to learn more and download the complete report.

“Understanding the elite few in their own ecosystem may prove a far more effective strategy than trying to replicate the success factors of other entrepreneurial hubs such as Silicon Valley,” said George Foster, Wattis Professor of Management and Dhirubhai Ambani Faculty Fellow in Entrepreneurship at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, and co-author of the report.

The report’s other co-author, Max von Bismarck, Director and Head of Investors Industries, World Economic Forum, said: “We hope that this report provides useful insights into the phenomenon of global entrepreneurship and will help to encourage and foster further high-impact entrepreneurs around the globe.”

“This report offers compelling proof that to drive economies forward, the key is not to generalize approaches for all entrepreneurs, but to focus resources on high-impact entrepreneurs – those innovators with the highest potential to scale,” said Linda Rottenberg, Co-Founder and CEO of Endeavor. Linda served on the report’s steering committee, with support from Shaun Young and David Wachtel from Endeavor.

Eight different growth strategies for early-stage companies are highlighted in the report, which features mini-case studies of seventy companies across 22 countries. Featured companies include the eight Endeavor-supported firms listed below. (To more easily locate the write-ups within the report [click here to download as a PDF], please refer to the page numbers in parentheses.)

DocSolutions (Mexico) (pp. 141-144; 32, 33) [link]
Entrepreneurs: Gabriel & Guillermo Oropeza

Globant (Argentina) (pp. 172-175; 18, 36) [link]
Entrepreneurs: Martin Migoya, Guibert Englebienne, Martín Umaran, Néstor Nocetti

MercadoLibre (Argentina) (pp. 205-208; 43, 151) [link]
Entrepreneurs: Hernán Kazah & Marcos Galperin

Petfor (Turkey) (pp. 326-328) [link]
Entrepreneur: Semih Yüzen

Pharmacy 1 (Jordan) (pp. 222-225; 24, 36, 46) [link]
Entrepreneur: Amjad Aryan

Refinancia (Colombia) (pp. 226-228; 16) [link]
Entrepreneur: Kenneth Mendiwelson

Technisys (Argentina) (pp. 351-353; 33, 36, 40) [link]
Entrepreneurs: German Pugliese Bassi & Mike Santos

Yola (South Africa) (pp. 257-259; 27) [link]
Entrepreneur: Vinny Lingham

Globant’s innovative solutions wow Google

Endeavor’s Argentina-based company Globant is keeping ahead of the technology curve. Featured recently in an article on Bloomberg.com, the IT outsourcing company has been unstoppable since its first collaboration with Google in 2006.

For a company that began as an idea in the back of a Buenos Aires bar in 2003, naming Google as a customer three years later was game-changing for Globant. In 2006, Google hired the IT outsourcing company to test their new Google Checkout software, essentially to try to break the complicated payment system and work out the kinks before it was released. Google’s Development Relations Manager, Patrick Chanezon, was so impressed by Globant’s elegant hacking and flaw-finding techniques that he invited one of Globant’s former engineers, Bruno Rovagnati, to give a presentation at Google’s Mountain View, California headquarters. The room was overflowing. Since then, Globant has become one of Chanezon’s go-to outsourcing partners and the Argentinean company is currently working on refining Google Chrome and the Android operating system.

According to the Bloomberg article, Martin Migoya, Globant’s chief executive and one of the four co-founders (along with Guibert Englebienne, Martín Umaran, and Néstor Nocetti — all Endeavor Entrepreneurs), explained how being able to count Google as a customer opened doors for their company; with the search engine giant’s endorsement, growth exploded. Globant now has over 1,400 employees (compared to 350 in 2006) and about 150 customers, including LinkedIn, MySpace, Electronic Art and JWT. Migoya notes that last year revenues totaled about $50 million and this year Globant is on target to hit $90 million.

To keep pace with the rapidly evolving technology and software industry, Globant is positioning itself as a provider of “long-term innovation management,” rather than as an individual project contractor. As noted by the Bloomberg article: “Architectural shifts in the basic platforms of the software industry ‘really changed the game of innovation and what kind of stuff you can build and in what time frame,’ says Google’s Chanezon. ‘Globant is well-positioned to be a strong player.’”

To its advantage, Globant was one of the first companies of its kind in Latin America’s growing IT outsourcing industry. They were early adopters of open-source technology, which can combine with proprietary software faster and more cheaply. It also aids in cross-polinating technology and helping their clients maintain an innovative edge. They are well equipped to suggest new ideas to customers that may not have looked outside their specific scope of development. The fact that they are in the same time zone as the United States and that all Globant employees are required to speak English help streamline the process and offer a competitive advantage over some of their counterparts in Asia.

Globant’s culture and process are instrumental in maintaining such a forward-thinking and adaptable company. When a new project comes into Globant, it is first introduced to 20 “gurus” in a brainstorming session, before being assigned to a team. Particularly tough challenges are thrown out to all Globant employees, expected to reach 3,000 in the next year, up 50 percent from 2010. Perhaps Globant’s most important quality for staying ahead of the technology curve is that they value creativity and flexibility. After participating in an Endeavor-led tour to Google’s Mountain View campus, Globant modeled much of their corporate culture (including industrial design, bean bag chairs and all) after Google, and like Google encourages their employees to spend 20 percent of their time doing whatever they want, to explore “technologies nobody is asking for yet.”

As the Globant motto has it, “We are ready.”

Endeavor Entrepreneur Federico Cella on his latest Uruguayan tech venture, Lynkos

This post is a translation of an interview that ran in Uruguayan newspaper El Pais, conducted by Stella Maris Pusino. In it, Endeavor Entrepreneur Federico Cella discusses his career as a serial entrepreneur, as well as his latest venture: Lynkos.
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Federico, a 33 year old from Montevideo received a degree in Business Administration from ORT, studied at Exeter, and was Six Sigma Certified in Aveta Business Institute and in Managerial Development in IEEM. He began his career at Aiva, which his mother, Maria Noel Ache, founded. They were selected by Endeavor Uruguay as Endeavor Entrepreneurs in 2007. He started Lynkos with Endeavor Entrepreneur Gabriel Colla after leaving Aiva in 2008. Through Lynkos, Federico and Gabriel hope to revolutionize asset management and financial intermediation. Federico is married and enjoys playing soccer.

El Pais: You started your career at Aiva…

Federico: Yes. In 1994, I returned from the United States at the age of 19. I didn’t know what I would do, but I wanted to build something of my own. At that time, my mother, Maria Noel Ache, started Aiva with her partner, Carlos Parra, while they were also working full time at Blue Cross & Blue Shield (BCBS). So, I joined the new company, which started as an insurance broker, selling in Uruguay and Argentina.

El Pais: A more modest beginning than what it is now…

Federico: It was just a secretary and me, in Montevideo, and Sebastian, Parra’s son, in Buenos Aires. Over the years, as the company grew, I took on several roles, from operations in the beginning to Managing Director at the end. At age 22 I was traveling six or seven months a year, recruiting people or agents so that they would sell the products we represented. Our effort to develop the company commercially, and its ability to help stakeholders quickly reach those markets, produced a synergy, which simultaneously attracted more retailers and new markets. My mother and her partner, after selling BCBS Uruguay, began to participate actively in the company in 2009. As such, Aiva developed into what it is today, a large wholesaler of financial services that distributes not only personal insurance, but retirement and investment funds throughout Latin America — 400 different ones — from six worldwide companies: Skandia, Allianz, Old Mutual, American Fidelity, BUPA and Swiss Life, through about 200 insurance brokers, stock brokers, banks and financial planners. It grew from those initial three employees to more than 200 today.

El Pais: What are your average sales?

Federico: On average, about US$40 million per year. It’s been stable for the last three or four years. I cannot give more details because in the financial business confidentiality is very important. For Lynkos this is not an issue, so we can speak openly.

El Pais: So, what circumstances led to the creation of the new company?

Federico: It was a market opportunity, having an idea to address that opportunity, knowing people that supported that idea, and it was also a personal decision. I worked for over fourteen years in the family business. Even as a teenager I helped my mother at the office with my siblings during the summer. The family business has great dynamics in many ways, but it is also taxing in other ways and I wanted to get out of those dynamics. Today Aiva and Lynkos are two separate projects. I left the Board of Aiva in 2008 but I am still a partner, along with Carlos Parra, my mother, and others. I founded Lynkos at the beginning of 2009.

El Pais: And the initial goal was?

Federico: Lynkos is a technology company and unlike most technology companies in Uruguay, it focuses on products; it is not a company that develops customized software or sells technology consultancy services. Lynkos develops its products and sells them. During the first year and a half, between June 2009 and December 2010, we concentrated on developing the first version, with an internal team of ten people, and another forty outside of the office, twenty in Argentina and another twenty in Uruguay.

El Pais: But Lynkos is Aiva’s “child”, an evolution…

Federico: Only in part. My work at Aiva contributed to the idea of starting up Lynkos and its implementation. The work to develop Aiva commercially constituted its first strength, but its second strength was technology. It was not easy to manage the usage of so many products and to consolidate everything with distributors. The technology we developed at Aiva made our commercial development possible. Our success when compared to our competitors was mainly due to our technology development. Then the question came up: If this is so good for Aiva, why not offer it to others in the same business?

El Pais: It seems very simple….

Federico: There were also other promising factors. For instance, a group from Hong Kong approached us because they wanted to use it for their business in that region, but our platform was not ready for this. For starters, it was in Spanish. The market opportunity for Lynkos to flourish was the demand for tools that facilitate the development of distribution channels of companies in the financial sector, and, at the distribution level, the need for tools that allow for better service to the end customer, in an efficient way. Because, believe it or not, in the financial services industry there is a lot of paperwork trailing the processes from one place to another, generating duplication of work and unnecessary delays and mistakes, which end up increasing costs for the companies and slowing down the service. These were the premises we adopted for Lynkos, and there, we developed everything from scratch, targeting these technological shortcomings. We finished the first version of our platform in December and are selling it in many countries in Latin America and South East Asia.

El Pais: Who uses the new platform and how do they benefit from it?

Federico: Today our platform supports the products of Skandia, Allianz, Old Mutual, American Fidelity, BUPA and Swiss Life, and at the broker level, all those included in Aiva and others. Almost 300 organizations already use the product throughout Latin America. It allows insurance companies, retirement funds, and companies with investment funds to develop alternate sales channels and improve the profits in the existing ones; it allows transactions to be processed electronically therefore generating efficiency. It improves the operating processes of the sales processes, shortening lead times and resources, reducing or minimizing duplication of processes, and therefore, costs. It all adds up to better customer service.

El Pais: Does anything like Lynkos exist in the world?

Federico: Only in the United States and England. Nowhere else. And they are specifically focused on those markets. In the markets we operate in there is no competition, nothing similar. There are commercial challenges. Many insurance companies, for example, have their own technology departments that handle their own needs. Even though we do not compete with them, we often have to show them how Lynkos complements what they already do, without replacing their own platforms. In addition, a company can be connected to Lynkos very quickly, without lengthy implementation. In a month and a half they can be effectively using Lynkos. It’s a finished product that they can try before buying without a large investment, because the business model takes into account the cost of the individual user or transaction. If they want to discontinue using it tomorrow, they can do so without great financial loss.

El Pais: What’s the cost for the client?

Federico: Depends on the customer, on their size…a broker that has between 1,500 to 6,000 clients can have a cost of about US $1,500 a month; a carrier with 200,000 accounts is paying between US $15,000 and 20,000 a month, as long as they use it.

El Pais: How do you sell your platform?

Federico: We have a sales team in Uruguay; local technical and commercial partners in Chile and Hong Kong, and a third channel, the self-subscription, the small or medium broker that starts to use the system on their own by recommendation or through Internet search.

El Pais: How much do you expect to bill this first year?

Federico: Close to one million dollars.

El Pais: Based on your experience, what skills should an entrepreneur have?

Federico: First, an idea that motivates him, because to follow through with it means a lot of effort and experiencing many difficulties, uncertainties, fatigue and tension over time. Anybody can have a motivating idea. Second is not to be afraid of those challenges, and this has to do with personality. The ability to resist comfort and certainty and not fear failure.

El Pais: Do you have any critiques of the government in Uruguay?

Federico: One very strong one: the lack of communication and encouragement for young people to study and pursue careers in technology. Hundreds of accountants, lawyers and medical doctors graduate every year, while in the technology area there is zero unemployment. While pursuing their studies, students can find jobs in technology that in turn help them to continue studying. It is a virtuous cycle. They earn good money in an industry with a lot of upward mobility and flexibility, because they can work here or for foreign customers. They can even enroll and study for free- there is nothing stopping them. But young people are not aware of this.

Endeavor April 2011 newsletter

To view Endeavor’s April newsletter, a recap of all the top news stories from the previous month, please CLICK HERE.

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Endeavor Entrepreneur Raul Polakof on how his tech firm overcame tough times, and his future growth plans

In a recent interview with the Latin American Venture Capital Association, Endeavor Entrepreneur Raul Polakof discusses the growth of his company Scanntech, how his company rode out the 2002 financial crisis in Latin America, and the importance of innovation. Scanntech is Uruguay’s leader in point of sale (POS) technology and develops and commercializes intelligent point of sale software (IPOSS) for medium to large retail companies.

Find the full LAVCA interview here.

LAVCA: What is your background and how did you come up with the idea for the company?
Polakof: After finishing University, Benny Szylkowski (currently a partner at Scanntech and head of sales) and I decided to start a business in retail technology. For years the company developed several innovative technologies, but when we were selected as Endeavor Entrepreneurs, they helped us realize that instead of inventing technologies, we should invent a solid business model. That is what we did and suddenly the company started growing and expanding.

LAVCA: Initially, Scanntech only sold cash registers, but the economic crisis in 2002 made you reevaluate your business model. Tell us a bit more about this process. What key decisions were made? Did you have mentors that helped in this process?
Polakof: Prior to 2002 we were doing pretty well exporting software to large retailers in Argentina. The Argentinean crisis started and several of our clients went bankrupt, and, either they did not pay, or they paid in “pesos” and not dollars. Then the crisis reached Uruguay, and by 2002 we were completely broke.
We had been working on a new business model and decided that it was the right time to implement it. We decided to focus on building the network of small retailers. At the same time, through Endeavor, we received invaluable advice from Rodolfo Oppenheimer and Enrique Baliño, former CEOs of McDonalds and IBM Uruguay respectively. They came to our company once a week and provided constructive criticism, which was extremely helpful.

It was a difficult time though. We couldn’t pay our employees’ salaries, and didn’t know if the company would survive, but we learned a lot. We made some big changes at that time. Instead of selling technology, we started to sell services and use our own technology as a SaaS company (the name SaaS didn’t exist at the time). Then we implemented a service where we called all of our partners once a month to check how we were doing. Today our customer satisfaction numbers are well above the industry standards. We also worked with our partners: small independent grocery stores, CPG suppliers, banks, financial institutions, cellular companies, government, etc. on ways to add value to their business and provide a better experience to their clients through this network of small independent stores (mainly bottom of the pyramid consumers), and it worked.

LAVCA: What sort of financing have you received thus far?
Polakof: We had a very successful and profitable business in Uruguay, but we needed additional funding to expand [to Argentina]. Since Uruguay is a very small country to raise the amount of money we were targeting, through Endeavor we met Austral Capital, a VC firm based in Chile. So it became an interesting mix: a Uruguayan company that raised money in Chile and was expanding in Argentina. Our first round was US$3 million, which we closed 10 months ago.

LAVCA: What is your most pressing strategic challenge right now?
Polakof: The transfer of knowledge and service culture. As we grow quickly in Argentina, continue expanding in Uruguay and start operations in Chile, our major challenge is passing know how and service culture to a rapidly expanding organization. We consider it key to our growth strategy because we build local teams and transfer the knowledge to them so they can run the business in their country so we can then focus on entering another country.

LAVCA: Are you looking for additional financing? If so, how do you plan to put your next round of financing to use?
Polakof: We’ve had a very good experience working with Austral Capital and will look to raise a second round of financing in order to expand to Brazil, where we already have grocery stores working with our systems. We will likely start actively seeking capital at some point in 2011.

LAVCA: Scanntech is already the leader in point of sales technology in Uruguay. Where do you see your company five years from now?
Polakof: We see ourselves with a greater presence in the rest of Latin America, as well as in the Asian market.

LAVCA: What advice would you give to other Latin American entrepreneurs and/or those in Uruguay specifically?
Polakof: Work hard on the business model; it is important that your company can add real value. Get a world class team, partner and set a culture with the right values. Once you have the right business strategy, it’s all about implementation and your people are to doing that successfully.

Forbes names two Endeavor Board members and one Investor Network member to its “Elite Eight” VCs to watch

Forbes and TrueBridge Capital Partners have named two Endeavor Board members and one Endeavor Investor Network member to its “Elite Eight” list of venture capitalists to watch.

The Elite Eight is a spinoff of Forbes’ and TrueBridge’s Midas List (of top venture capitalists) and highlights up-and-comers in the industry. The new list’s name takes its inspiration from the NCAA basketball tournament, in which unexpected, upstart teams often upset perennial favorites. While the Midas List utilizes a rigorous, quantitative model to identify its honorees, the Elite Eight employs a more qualitative approach, analyzing the industry at a macro level, looking closely at individual managers’ portfolios, and speaking with industry veterans.

Note: Blurbs below reprinted from Forbes.com.

Nick Beim
General Partner, Matrix Partners; Endeavor Global Board Member

Beim focuses on Internet and software investments for Matrix, historically among Boston’s finest venture firms but which recently planted big flags in Silicon Valley and New York. Beim, who opened Matrix’s Big Apple office early last year, was discussed frequently by the Midas List panel due to his investments in Gilt Groupe (the event-based online sales company that seems to be minting money) and TheLadders.com (the leading online destination for $100K+ jobs). JBoss, a company in which Beim invested just four years after becoming a venture capitalist in 2004, sold to RedHat in 2006 for $350 million. Like most of the others in our Elite Eight, Beim is still in his 30s, but is poised to find a place on the Midas List before long.

Jason Green
Founding General Partner, Emergence Capital; Endeavor Global Board Member

Green is a twin married to a twin, but has managed to build an investment portfolio that is anything but identical from others in Silicon Valley. After investing on behalf of established firms USVP and Venrock for over a decade, Green caught the entrepreneurial bug himself and co-founded Emergence Capital. The firm, which was an early investor in Salesforce.com, has focused on “cloud computing” since 2003, long before it was fashionable to do so. It’s paying off. Green earned big money on SuccessFactors, which went public in late-2007, and many believe Yammer, a Facebook-for-corporations that he backed in early 2010, could be a billion-dollar business. As these lofty plans come to fruition, Green – the elder statesman of the Elite Eight at just 44 – has a great shot at being on the Midas List for years to come.

Matt Cohler
General Partner, Benchmark Capital; Endeavor Investor Network Member

Cohler is among the youngest to hit our watch list. That’s fitting, since at the age of 31, he was the youngest non-founder to crack the general partner ranks of venerable Benchmark Capital when he joined in 2008 (Kevin Harvey was slightly younger when he co-founded the firm in 1995). Cohler was part of the founding team at LinkedIn, which recently filed for an IPO, and was one of the earliest hires at Facebook, where he was vice president of product management. He was recruited to Benchmark by Midas Lister #4, Peter Fenton, to beef up the firm’s presence in Web 2.0. He seems to be doing swimmingly, having invested in Asana (started by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz) and Quora (red-hot social “knowledge market”), among others. Cohler remains a special advisor to Facebook, which undoubtedly helps his already robust deal flow.

Cohler is a member of Endeavor’s recently-launched Investor Network. Designed to extend the reach of investors focused on emerging markets, the Investor Network connects leading investors with High-Impact Entrepreneurs and partners in emerging markets through tailored treks and services. The annual membership program aims to increase entrepreneurs’ access to smart growth capital and create an active global network of investors. The Network launched in February 2011 and kicked off its first trek in April, in Brazil. The next trek, Emerging Market Venture Day, will be in Silicon Valley on June 28 as a pre-conference activity for Endeavor’s Entrepreneur Summit.

Endeavor Entrepreneur Daniel Rosas discusses Colombia tech biz, offers advice to entrepreneurs

In an interview with the Latin American Venture Capital Association (LAVCA), Endeavor Entrepreneur Daniel Rosas, founder of TES America, discusses effectiveness and efficiency, challenges to starting a business in Colombia, and virtuous cycles. Founded in Bógota in 1999, TES America is the leading service provider for telecommunications in Colombia. The company designs, optimizes, and monitors wireless communications networks to provide industry-specific solutions and is branching out to other industries such as healthcare. Find the full interview here.

LAVCA: Please give us some background on TES America.

Rosas: At its core, TES America is a group of electronic and computer science engineers who create customized, industry-specific solutions and systems. Our strengths have developed by designing, optimizing, and monitoring telecommunication networks.

Today we extend our expertise to other sectors most notably Oil & Gas, Mining, Health and the Public Sector. We work with clients such as Tigo, Telefonica, Alcatel and Nokia-Semens (telecom), Petrobras and Ecopetrol (energy), Carbocol (mining) and various public entities.

We have created a “Telemedicine” division, which we are establishing as a separate business from TES America. Telemedince will allow patient diagnoses content and data to be shared through Telecommunications and human/machine software interfaces – a revolutionary tool that allows hospitals in rural areas to increase their effectiveness on patient care. Telemedicine represents a clear example of how our expertise would revolutionize the efficiency and effectiveness of operations in a new sector.

LAVCA: How did you come up with the business idea?

Rosas: The idea came after the privatization of Colombia’s telecommunications’ sector. Our business is more than just providing services and products; it is about nurturing and developing the human capital of Colombia while contributing towards the efficiency and effectiveness of strategic industries which are critical to Colombia’s growth, and that of Latin America in the international arena. Our vision is social impact and high quality job creation in a constantly evolving sector.

LAVCA: Who is your competition and what do you see as TES America’s competitive advantages?

Rosas: From a corporate perspective, we are not aware of any competitors that offer the breadth and depth of products and services. Our competitive advantage derives from four key areas:

1. R&D: TES America invests in Colombia’s most talented and trained engineers by financing the research and thesis work of young engineers throughout universities in Colombia. We also invest 20% of revenues into our own R&D staff through the training and hiring of talented engineers.
2. Neutrality: Unlike the majority of competitors, we are not tied to any OEM and therefore offer impartial and objective services regarding technology.
3. Technology expertise: TES America has developed leading expertise in telecom technology, hardware integration and software development.
4. Customization: TES America is unique in that its solutions are customizable to the specific needs given a client’s industry and area of expertise.
Our most pressing strategic challenge right now is reinforcing our organizational structure to extend our expertise to foreign markets.

LAVCA: You are currently preparing the company to fundraise in the second quarter 2011. What types of investors do you plan to approach? How much capital are you seeking?

Rosas: We are seeking USD $2M for TES America and USD $500K for Telemedicine. We hope to partner with “smart capital” investors with a long-term view that can provide financing but also a network to help facilitate new market entry. We are not looking for pure equity investors seeking attractive returns in a short time frame.

We are open to both international and domestic source of capital and plan to target these investors via our own industry and personal contacts, but also with the help of Endeavor Colombia to broaden our network.

LAVCA: How do you plan to put your next round of financing to use?

Rosas: This will depend. If we find a suitable investor for the Telemedince division, we would extend to new markets. We have analyzed the drivers of adoption for rural intra-hospital consulting (rural populations, density of physicians and per-capita healthcare expenditure) and found that the best initial targets for this practice are Colombia, Argentina, Peru and Chile. Second-tier markets would include the US and additional Latin American markets.

LAVCA: Where do you see your company five years from now?

Rosas: We strive to be a leading technology and engineering services group with integrated operations in Latin America, the USA and Asia.

LAVCA: In your opinion, what remains as one of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs in Colombia?
Rosas: I would point to four main areas: access to financial capital (especially for service and software providers), access to human capital with knowledge and experience in international markets, a taxing regulatory environment and a lack of government incentives for SMEs.

LAVCA: What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs in Colombia?

Rosas: First of all, develop knowledge in technology-related disciplines. We believe technology is the seed that generates a virtuous cycle of innovation, education, development and economic growth. Leverage these technology skills to focus on sectors specifically focused on communications and networking.

Secondly, while Tes America is neutral on background, we urge entrepreneurs to develop skills through a background that stems from a quality education, international experience, language abilities and leadership potential.

Linda Rottenberg discusses global entrepreneurship on venture capital’s birthday

L to R: Harvard Business School’s Bill Sahlman (moderator), Advent International’s Peter Brooke, Linda Rottenberg of Endeavor, and Tim Draper of Draper Fisher Jurvetson

Linda Rottenberg, Endeavor Co-Founder and CEO, spoke about international venture capital yesterday at VC65, a conference celebrating the 65th anniversary of the U.S. venture capital industry. Xconomy, a news and events organization which provides business and technology news, paired up with the National Venture Capital Association and the MIT Museum to hold VC65. The event, open to the public, drew nearly 1,000 attendees including entrepreneurs, technologists, and over 500 venture capitalist guests. Linda Rottenberg has also been named an “Xconomist,” serving on the volunteer advisory board of the newly launched New York chapter of Xconomy.com.

The closing panel of VC65 featured Linda, Peter Brooke of Advent International, and Tim Draper of Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Bill Sahlman of Harvard Business School moderated the panel on the topic of global entrepreneurship and venture capital’s role in emerging markets. While discussing entrepreneurship around the world, Linda highlighted the basics behind Endeavor’s mentor capitalist model and the growing community of investors in our network — investors who are not only mentoring Endeavor Entrepreneurs but also advising burgeoning investment communities in emerging markets.

In marking the 65th birthday of venture capital, the conference looked ahead to the future of the field. Panel topics included the new Frontier of Venture, Building Biotech firms, and case studies on Kiva and Skype. In “10 Takeaways from Xconomy’s VC65,” insights about a “new entrepreneurial generation” embracing the start-up life, the potential of firms to touch lives, and increasing specialization proved most exciting to the audience.

Other featured speakers included Bob Metcalfe, who delivered the opening keynote, Henry McCance of Greylock Partners on industry best practice, Ajay Agarwal of Bain Capital Ventures, Scott Kupor of Andreessen Horowitz, Bryan Roberts of Venrock, and Terry McGuire of Polaris Venture Partners. lmerHale, Silicon Valley Bank, and the Microsoft New England Research & Development (NERD) Center sponsored the event.
Linda Rottenberg speaking at VC65

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